Exploring the Wonders of Virginia at the Museum of Natural History

Welcome to the Museum of Natural History in Virginia, one of the most awe-inspiring and educational places you can visit in the state. Here, you will discover the wonders of Virginia’s natural world, from the towering Blue Ridge Mountains to the depths of the Chesapeake Bay. The museum is a treasure trove of interactive exhibits and displays that will take you on a journey through time, showcasing the evolution of Virginia’s ecosystems and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them. Whether you are young or old, a nature lover or a science enthusiast, the Museum of Natural History in Virginia has something for everyone. So, come on in and explore the wonders of our state’s natural heritage!


The Virginia Museum of Natural History is not just a place filled with interesting exhibits and interactive displays – it is also home to a variety of events throughout the year. These events provide visitors with a unique opportunity to learn more about the natural world around them and explore the many wonders of the museum. Whether you’re interested in guided tours, workshops, guest speakers, or unique exhibits, the Virginia Museum of Natural History has something for everyone.

Regular Events

The Virginia Museum of Natural History offers a range of regular events, some of which occur seasonally and others which are available year-round. These events are designed to appeal to visitors of all ages and backgrounds, and they can provide a deeper understanding of the natural world in many different ways.

One example of a regular event at the museum is the guided tour. These tours are led by knowledgeable staff members who can provide a wealth of information about the museum’s exhibits and collections. Visitors can choose from a variety of tour options, including general museum tours or more specialized tours focused on particular exhibits or topics. This is a great way to learn more about the natural history of the region and the world at large.

In addition to guided tours, the Virginia Museum of Natural History also offers a range of workshops and educational programs. These programs are designed to teach visitors about specific topics related to natural history, such as geology, astronomy, or biology. These workshops can provide visitors with hands-on experiences and a deeper understanding of the natural world.

Special Events

In addition to its regular events, the Virginia Museum of Natural History also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. These events can include guest speakers, unique exhibits, and more. Some recent examples of special events at the museum include a lecture on the history of biodiversity, an exhibit on the role of bees in ecosystems, and a workshop on the science of animal tracking.

Special events at the Virginia Museum of Natural History are designed to offer visitors a unique and informative experience. They can be an excellent way to learn more about a specific topic or to gain insight from experts in the field. If you are interested in attending a special event at the museum, be sure to check the museum’s website for more information and upcoming events.

Plan Your Visit

Planning a visit to the Virginia Museum of Natural History is easy. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission fees are very reasonable, and guided tours are available for an additional fee. Children aged 2 and under are admitted for free.

If you are driving to the museum, it is located at 21 Starling Avenue in Martinsville. Free parking is available onsite. The museum is also easily accessible by public transportation – simply take the bus to the museum’s stop at the corner of Starling Avenue and Commonwealth Boulevard.

In addition to its regular exhibits and events, the Virginia Museum of Natural History also offers a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and other items related to natural history. There is also a cafe where visitors can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing beverage.

Overall, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is an excellent destination for anyone interested in learning more about the natural world. With its engaging exhibits, informative events, and knowledgeable staff, this museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone in the area. Whether you are planning a family outing, a school field trip, or simply a day of exploration, the Virginia Museum of Natural History has something for everyone.

Education Programs

The Virginia Museum of Natural History is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. From children’s programs to adult workshops and school programs, the museum offers an array of opportunities to learn about the natural world.

Children’s Programs

The Virginia Museum of Natural History offers a variety of programs for children that allow them to explore the natural world in a fun and interactive way. Field trips to the museum provide an opportunity for students to see and touch specimens, participate in hands-on activities, and learn from museum educators. Summer camp programs are also available for children, offering an immersive experience with various themes including dinosaurs and paleontology, geology, and nature exploration.

One of the popular programs for children is the Nature Academy, which offers a series of interactive classes on different topics such as animal adaptations, rocks and minerals, and environmental science. These classes provide a deeper understanding of the natural world in a fun and engaging way.

Another popular program is the Junior Naturalist Series, which is aimed at children aged 6-12. This program teaches children various topics such as hiking, bird watching, and geocaching. Children participate in interactive educational activities that help them develop their knowledge and skills and ignite their curiosity in the natural world.

Adult Programs

The Virginia Museum of Natural History has various educational programs available for adults. For those who are interested in learning more about natural history, the museum offers lecture series and workshops throughout the year. These programs are presented by expert speakers who share their knowledge about different topics such as geology, paleontology, biology, and archaeology.

The museum also offers adult field trips, providing an opportunity for participants to learn more about the natural world in the field. These field trips are led by museum educators and expert guides and range from bird watching and wildflower identification to fossil collecting and geology exploration.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History also hosts an annual paleontological dig in Wyoming for adults to participate. Participants learn methods of fieldwork from experts and are able to discover and identify prehistoric vertebrates that roamed the Earth around 55 million years ago.

School Programs

The Virginia Museum of Natural History offers a variety of educational programs for school groups. Teachers can choose from a range of options, including field trips to the museum, outreach programs, and virtual field trips. For teachers who are interested in bringing the museum experience into their classrooms, the museum provides pre-visit and post-visit materials to help teachers prepare and reinforce the content covered during field trips.

Virtual field trips are a new addition to the museum’s repertoire of educational offerings. Thanks to new technology, the museum can guide students on a virtual tour of the museum’s exhibits from the classroom. This allows students to engage with the material even if distance or cost prohibits an actual museum visit. The museum’s outreach programs, led by museum educators, provide hands-on interactive experiences that cover a variety of topics such as geology, biology, and paleontology. Teachers can choose from various programs, such as classroom visits, interactive video sessions and even distance learning programs.

Overall, the Virginia Museum of Natural History offers a wide range of educational programs and experiences for visitors of all ages. Whether you are interested in dinosaurs, geology, environmental science, or bird watching, the museum has something to offer.

Research and Collections

The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) is home to a vast collection of specimens, serving as a hub for natural history research. The museum’s research and collections programs have led to significant contributions to the scientific community, as well as the preservation of natural resources and wildlife.

Research Projects

The VMNH engages in several research projects, including those concerning botany, paleontology, geology, and zoology. The museum’s research team comprises scientists, educators, and students, working together to understand the natural world better.

The museum’s research teams are always looking for new ways to protect and conserve natural resources, from aiding in the restoration of habitats to capturing invasive species. One of the most significant qualities of the research conducted at VMNH is that it is directly applicable to the daily lives of ordinary people.

Additionally, the VMNH provides excellent opportunities for undergraduate and graduate-level students to engage in meaningful research, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in their field of study.


The VMNH’s collection houses over 22 million specimens, including plants, animals, and fossils. The museum’s curators and researchers use the collection for scientific studies, providing vital data on the history and distribution of species.

The invertebrate collection alone comprises over 8 million specimens, making it one of the most extensive collections of its kind in the southeast United States. The collection also includes a remarkable library and archives section, housing historical documentation and papers dating back to the early 1800s.

Beyond housing over 500,000 cataloged fossils, the VMNH is the only museum in the world to display an intact Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur skeleton. Additionally, it houses several other unique specimens, including the world’s most massive intact watermelon-sized staurolite crystal and a rare fern fossil from the Triassic Period.

Volunteer Opportunities

VMNH welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who are passionate about natural history. Volunteers can choose to participate in a range of activities, from guiding visitors through the museum galleries to assisting in specimen preparation for research.

Volunteer positions are available throughout the year, and the museum offers a range of training sessions for those interested. By volunteering at VMNH, individuals can gain valuable experience, learn new skills, and support the museum’s mission of scientific research and education.

In conclusion, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is not just a destination for exploration and educational experiences; it is also a world-class research institution that contributes significantly to the natural history sciences. Visitors can take inspiration from the museum’s diverse and fascinating collections, and even get involved in the museum’s research and conservation projects through volunteering.

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